emunah, tefillah, a little mussar, and a shmeck of geula

Monday, June 1, 2015

It's a Matter of Perspective

The long and short of it is as follows:

After a fruitless search for the someone who could shine some meaning on his life, a certain troubled person who was contemplating suicide finally reached out to Reb Gutman Locks.

The bottom line here is that despite the fact that he acknowledged that his life was good, in that he had everything and more, he felt totally empty inside which in turn led to depression which in turn led to twisted thoughts of jumping the gun on Hashem's calculations by taking early retirement from this world, chas v'shlalom.

So what do you think he answered him?

"It's a wonderful blessing that you became depressed, he said. "

 But he actually said somewhat more than that:  "It's a wonderful blessing that you became depressed when you were not trying to accomplish your spiritual goals in life.  The depression led you to search for something more than you were finding.  Had you not become depressed you might have (G-d forbid) become satisfied with your physical life and never have sought more."

Very nice.  He's finally tripped into the right store, so now what?

If one thing is certain it's that a person who wants to pack out before his time has no understanding of why he's here to begin with.  So Reb Gutman told him:

"Everything in Creation has its unique purpose in having been created what it is.  You are a man, and as such have certain purposes related to being a man.  You are a Jew, and with that comes an additional set of purposes.  To succeed you have to fulfill all of what you have been created to do."

So how does one navigate himself out of the material wasteland?  As Reb Gutman tells it it's a matter of elevation not negation.

"The performance of any mitzvah makes one holy, and the more holy you become the more you elevate yourself form an entirely physical perspective, and the more you gain a spiritual perspective.  The entirely physical perspective causes man to live a life of an animal whose only concern is satisfying its animal inclination.  When you gain a spiritual perspective you do not throw away the physical.

"You elevate it."

"You learn use the physical to reveal the spiritual."

"It's a lifelong avodah, not a one day quick fix.  Each day, again and again, try to remember and help others remember why we're here."

And finally:

"Even the slightest spiritual success removes sorrow, but don't expect a free ride as in a life without speed bumps.  Life is a struggle.  We have to work to remember why we're here and the reward is measured according to the effort."